SANTA CLARA — One day after the 49ers ended their disappointing 2018 season with a 4-12 record, quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo spoke about his rehab from a torn ACL.
“It feels good,” Garoppolo said Monday. “Obviously there are some things that we’re limited with. The side-to-side lateral stuff is still questionable, but I’m happy where I’m at now.”
Garoppolo has had running back Jerick McKinnon as a rehabilitation partner throughout the season, both having torn ACLs. McKinnon is a few weeks ahead of Garoppolo, and the QB jokingly said he’s been trying to catch up to his running back.
They both agree it’s been nice to have each other throughout the process. Before they were allowed on the field during games, they were up in the coaches booth together. The duo also has watched film together, and Garoppolo said they're already on the same page with what they see.
Once he started standing on the sideline unable to play, though, Garoppolo admitted it was an odd experience.
“You don’t know how to act or react,” Garoppolo said, “and then once you get onto the field, that 5, 10 minutes before the game is the hardest part because you get all your juices flowing and you’re excited. You try to find the silver lining in everything, but it was tough. I’m not going to lie.”
Garoppolo tried to take advantage of being as involved as possible during game days, as well as in as many meetings as his schedule would allow. He wore a headset during games, running through plays as if he was on the field. While the 49ers struggled during the season, he was proud of the mettle they showed.
“There’s a lot of fight,” Garoppolo said. “We have a good locker room. Going through a season like we just went through, it’s tough. You can get a lot of guys who start pointing fingers and stuff like that, but whether it was offense or defense or special teams, everyone stayed locked in and stayed the course. It’s good to see that.”
A few other NFL quarterbacks made their way back onto the field after ACL surgeries this season. Garoppolo has taken note of the progress of both DeShaun Watson and Carson Wentz.
“ACL, it’s a little different for a quarterback. We’re not moving around as much as a normal football player I guess. It sounds bad saying that,” Garoppolo said, laughing a little, “but you know what I mean. It’s encouraging seeing those guys.”
Garoppolo really just can’t wait to get back to his usual routine and move on to 2019.
“Getting out on the field,” he said. “It’s been a while. It’s that feeling of getting out there with the guys and being in the huddle. Just little things like that. You miss a full season of it, you realize how much you really appreciate it when you do have it."
The progress of the 49ers' younger players as the season progressed has Garoppolo looking forward for things to come.
“I think there was ups and downs throughout the whole thing like any season,” he said. “But I think we’re going in the right direction. That’s the encouraging thing. You see young guys coming along and really finding their own way in the NFL and that’s exciting stuff. It will be a fun offseason.”